Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Put your shoulder to the wheel

Theron and I have spent the last two days working with LDS Charities and University of Northern Philippines Outreach program.  We were able to see the assessment of almost 100 people in need of wheelchairs.  Better than that we were able to see that all but three were accepted to be wheelchair recipiants and even better than that we were able to help in issuing the first 25 chairs.

One that caught my attention this morning was Norlito Lopez.  He has lived in a wheelchair since he was in third grade.  His chair was old.  So old in fact that he had replaced the seat with a piece of scrap lumber.  Old enough to cause some serious slivers in his backside if not careful.  He had replaced the foot support straps with pieces of old chain.  How nice it was to see him get his new chair so that he can continue supporting his family. He worked 20 years at a furniture business until it closed down.  He now works repairing small electrical appliances and is teaching the skill to his sons while they are looking for more permanent work.

I love being a missionary here.  Our work gives so many opportunities to share the gospel in our actions, by giving service and sharing our testimonies.  We have been blessed in so many ways.  I pray that our children and grandchildren remember the words of Hayden when he said "We are a family that serves".

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It is not a new idea

The idea of self-reliance is not new. It is a principle that we were placed upon this earth to learn. Satan is trying to stop our eternal progress by telling us we do not need to work for what we get because it is owed to us.
Brigham Young
My experience has taught me, and it has become a principle with me, that it is never any benefit to give, out and out, to man or woman, money, food, clothing, or anything else, if they are able-bodied, and can work and earn what they need, when there is anything on the earth for them to do. This is my principle, and I try to act upon it. To pursue a contrary course would ruin any community in the world and make them idlers. People trained in this way have no interest in working; “but,” say they, “we can beg, or we can get this, that, or the other.”
--Brigham Young, February 3, 1867, JD 11:297.

Self-Reliance talk - Aguilar District Conference

Magandang Umaga

Good Morning

Nagpapasalamat po ko para sa inyong oras ngayon.

I are grateful for your time.

Kaunti-lang ang tagalog ko,

I only speak a little Tagalog,

Pwede po ba kaming maginglish sa inyo.

May I please speak English to you.

Philippines Area Goals

We will exercise our faith in Jesus Christ and work together to accomplish His will.

  • Obey
    • We will show our love to God by obeying His commandments
  • Covenant
    • We will live worthily, receive the  blessings of the temple, and be true to our covenants
  • Establish
    • We will build stro-reliant, multigenerational Filipino families and share the Gospel with others

Obey, Covenant and Establish.  I love this, all of it!  I especially love the self-reliant part of it, partly because Sister Anderson and I are called to serve in the Self-Reliance program but mostly because that is what God has told us we must become.

Remember the Great Council in Heaven?  The scriptures teach us about that experience.  We were there.  I was there, and you were there.

 Abraham 3:22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

 23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

 24  …and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

 25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

We are not all alike here on earth.  We were not all alike in heaven.  We possessed different talents and abilities, and were called to do different things on earth.

We can learn more about our “eternal possibilities” when we receive our patriarchal blessings.  We also learn about ourselves by study, trying new things, pondering and prayer.

When we study and ponder our personal talents and those of our family members we are able to recognize the opportunities that Heavenly Father has given us.  He has chosen the time and place for each of us to be born so we can learn the lessons we personally need and do the most good with our individual talents and personalities.

·         How have other people’s talents blessed you?

·         How can your talents and gifts bless others?

·         How can you use your talents to become more self-reliant?

“For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. “I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

“And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. “But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.

“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves” (D&C 104:13–17).

We recognize that last part—“be agents unto themselves”—as the core doctrine of self-reliance.

Being Agents means we have to act, we have to work.  We cannot simply pray and hope that things will be better tomorrow.

Becoming Self-Reliant requires change.  President Packer said, “Things that don’t change, stay the same”.

I am going to share with you two secrets to becoming Self-Reliant.


o   If your not working, go do something.  Step out of your house every day and do something productive, even if you are volunteering or donating your time.

o   If you are working, go find something additional to do


o   Pay your tithing and offerings

o   God does not need your money

o   He needs your obedience – remember the area goal – OBEY?

I want to tell you about my Dad.  My father, the man who taught me how to work, who taught me to pay my tithing.  The man who taught me how to become self-reliant.

My Dad was a quiet man, somewhat shy.  I believe this came from loosing his hearing as a baby and sometimes being told that he was handicapped.  My Mother was his greatest supporter, she too was deaf but never felt like she was handicapped and she always told my Dad he could do anything.

When they had not been married long they found an acre of ground that they wanted to own, build a home on and raise their family.  They saved and accomplished these goals without ever having a mortgage on their home or land.

It was 1946 when they started building this home.  They used what we call cinder blocks in the US, hollow blocks in the Philippines.  My mother kept a diary of the expenses, how many blocks at what cost, cement, nails, all of it.  World War II had just ended and building supplies were in short supply. Lumber was particularly hard to get.

My Dad talked to everyone he knew.  He asked if they had any lumber he could get.  A number of years ago we were putting a new room on my parents home and stripped all the old shingles off.  The wood in that roof was all different sizes and colors.  Some painted green, or white or not painted.  He told me that he had taken a shed apart board by board and used the lumber to help build his home.

He did not wait until wood was in more abundant supply.  He searched, asked and found.

The first year in that new home they used an outhouse for their convenience room.  They carried water from a spring about 1/2 mile away for drinking.

My Dad was ambitious.  He worked hard all the time.  If overtime was available at work he was the first to volunteer.  I remember asking my Mom to get me a picture of him since I didn’t see him for several days at a time.  When not at his employment he was home working.  He wanted that 1 acre of land so he could plant fruit trees, a large vegetable garden and it was from this that we would eat well in the summer months.  In the fall my Mother would can and preserve the abundance from the fruit trees and garden and would store it for our use in the cold winter months.  We never ran out of food because of the industry of my parents.

My Dad died when he was only 66 years old.  I was mad, I felt I had been cheated.  I was only 36 years old and was expecting a lot more years together.  Since serving a mission in the Philippines, teaching self-reliance principals, I have come to realize that My Dad had already taught me the things I needed to know.  He had taught be how to be self-reliant and it is because of him that I am here today.

Let me tell you of Eric and a loaf of bread.  Eric and his wife struggle to have enough for their family. They both work hard, they look for any little thing they can do to earn a little more.  Eric was recently helping a friend with his motorcycle that would not start.  Eric fixed it.  The friend wanted to pay him but did not have money so he went home and got a loaf a bread and brought it to him.  His wife told me how happy the children were to have bread for their breakfast before going to school the next day.

Stay busy, work hard everyday, even if it is in service to your friends neighbors and family.  God will bless you for the work you do.  He will make more out of your efforts when you include him through prayer, fasting, and paying of your tithes and offerings.

I want to tell you about Lehi and his family.  You remember that when they left Jerusalem, Lehi sent his sons back first to obtain the Brass Plates which told his Lehi's forefathers and contained the words that God revealed through his prophets.

After obtaining the brass plates, Lehi again asked his sons to return to Jerusalem to again and invite Ishmael and his household to join them.

1 Nephi 7:1-2   And now I would that ye might know, that after my father, Lehi, had made an end of prophesying concerning his seed, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto him again, saying that it was not meet for him, Lehi, that he should take his family into the wilderness alone; but that his sons should take daughters to wife, that they might raise up seed unto the Lord in the land of promise.
 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness.
They went back to get the two things they could not obtain in the wilderness, the Scriptures and Wives.
Lehi and his family, after wandering in the wilderness for eight years, came to a land they called Bountiful because it was a place of much fruit and wild honey. They came to a great sea, and they rejoiced unto the Lord because He had preserved them. After they had been in the land Bountiful for a space of many days, the Lord spoke to Nephi and said, “Arise, and get thee into the mountain.” (1 Ne. 17:7.)

Lehi and his family, after wandering in the wilderness for eight years, came to a land they called Bountiful because it was a place of much fruit and wild honey. They came to a great sea, and they rejoiced unto the Lord because He had preserved them. After they had been in the land Bountiful for a space of many days, the Lord spoke to Nephi and said, “Arise, and get thee into the mountain.” (1 Ne. 17:7.)

Nephi obeyed the Lord; he went into the mountain and prayed. And the Lord commanded Nephi, “Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.” (1 Ne. 17:8.)

Then Nephi asked the Lord, “Whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?” (1 Ne. 17:9).

The Lord instructed Nephi where he could find ore, but then Nephi was on his own. In 1 Nephi, chapter 17, we read:

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire. …

“And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.”

This is one of the more interesting stories we have in the scriptures because it tells of an instance in which the Lord provided help but then stepped aside to allow one of His sons to exercise his own initiative. I wonder what would have happened if Nephi had asked the Lord for tools instead of a place to find the ore to make the tools.  I doubt the Lord would have honored Nephi’s request. You see, the Lord knew that Nephi could make the tools, and it is seldom the Lord will do something for us that we can do for ourselves.

This is what Self-Reliance is all about.  Doing for yourself and your family, not waiting on the Government, the Church or family and friends, but working hard and doing everything you can to take care of your family.  When you do this the God will sustain you, he will bridge the gaps for you, he will open doors and windows for you.  He will bless you and you will be self-reliant.

 Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Remember, Self-Reliance is not something we do, It is what we become. Temporal and Spiritual Self-Reliance is inseparable!

You will not become self-reliant overnight.  It takes a lifetime of living.  A little improvement each day is how we progress.

It is my duty, it is yours, to be better today than I was yesterday, and for you to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today. Joseph Fielding Smith.

“If today you are a little bit better than you were yesterday, then that's enough. And, if tomorrow you are a little bit better than you were today, then that's enough.”― David A. Bednar

Friday, July 8, 2016

For discussion

Topic of discussion

D&C 18: 15  And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!  

Where do I find that one soul?  What do I want him to know?  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Getting Out of Debt and Staying Out!

Debt is a big problem for many people and families.   In our Self-Reliance Services Newsletter for June 2016 there is an article I include below called "6 WAYS TO GET OUT OF DEBT"

Serving as Self-Reliance Missionaries in the Philippines we come in contact with people all the time who are burdened by debt.  In the Philippines many people borrow money from "friends" or "family" on what is termed a 5 - 6 loan.  For those who may not know, a 5 - 6 loan is very simple.  You borrow 5 today and in 30 days you pay me 6.  For example, 5,000 pesos today requires payment of 6,000 pesos in 1 month.  If you don't have the 6,000 pesos in a month, don't worry, you can pay 1,000 pesos and then in 30 days you can pay the 6,000.  Or again, just pay the 1,000 pesos of interest per month, every month.  Month after month and year after year.  The math is simple, 20% per month or 240% per year.  When someone takes out a 5 - 6 loan they find themselves working for the lender, not for themselves or their family.  They are in bondage and some then borrow from another to pay the first and then the second until they are so far in debt they can find no way out.

In the United States of America it is a little more subtle.  Start off with credit cards which have 18% or higher interest rate with hidden charges for late or short payments and the interest rates can rival what happens in the Philippines.  Families often borrow on their home to pay these off and then start over again with new credit cards and it continues to get worse.

Debt and interest like this is a tool of Satan and he uses it well to destroy lives, marriages and families.  If you have problems with debt, seek help.  Read these suggestions and make the sacrifices necessary to remove this burden from your life.

Remember that your family is most important in your life.  Do not allow debt to destroy your family.

I would like to suggest the following as the path to financial well being.

First, pay your tithing.  God Promises in Malachi 3:10

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith
the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

This is a promise, this is a covenant, and God cannot lie.  Simply stated, pay your tithing and you will be blessed.  God will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessing upon you and your family.

Second, spend less than you earn.  Learn to live on less than you earn.  Do not live on borrowed money.  If you use a credit card, do not charge more than you can afford to pay off that month.  Save for extra wants so you have enough for your needs.

Third, learn to save.  You never know what will happen so save a little each week so when you have an emergency you can the money to take care of it.  Pay yourself a little and hold it in reserve.

Fourth, honor your financial obligations.   We are people of integrity.  We believe in honoring our debts and being honest in our dealings with our fellow men.

Fifth, teach your children to follow your example.   Children learn best by example.  If they see their parents paying their tithing, spending less than they earn, saving a little each week and honoring their commitments then their children will also have integrity.